This week’s reflections are written by Rev. Brian Johnson, one of our Associate Pastors here at St. Matthew’s
Rooted 2019 – Week Twelve Day One
Today’s reading is Luke 23: 1-25
In today’s passage we read about Jesus being brought before Pilate by the Sanhedrin. The charges against Jesus are now more politically based than religious. Pilate and Rome could care less if Jesus broke any religious laws however if the Sanhedrin could prove that Jesus broke political laws then Pilate would be forced to act. The political charges cast against Jesus were: 1. misleading the nation 2. forbidding tribute to Caesar 3. proclaiming to be king. Pilate focuses on the last charge, proclaiming to be king. This would be a direct threat to the rule of Caesar that would require any Roman Governor to act. If Pilate would have failed to address this charge and Caesar found out then Pilate would be in jeopardy. So Pilate questions Jesus about being a king but finds no guilt. So he releases him to Herod Antipas who also has authority over Jesus since he is a Galilean. Herod Antipas was glad to see Jesus because he was hoping to see a sign. However, Jesus did not provide him any miracles nor did Jesus answer any of his questions. So Herod mocked Jesus and sent him back to Pilate. Now, Pilate called everyone together: the chief priests, the rulers, and the people. He addressed the crowd to declare that neither Herod or he found anything that Jesus did deserving death. He was going to simply punish him and send him on his way. Since it was Passover, it was custom for the Governor to release a prisoner that the populace wanted freed. The crowd wanted Pilate to release Barabbas, a known murder and to crucify Jesus. Pilate not wanting to upset the crowd any further during Passover, released Barabbas and sent Jesus to be crucified.
The scene detailed here in the gospel is a familiar one for many of us. When we read this passage our hearts get heavy. We know what is going to happen to Jesus and there is nothing we can do to stop it. It is like rewatching some of your favorite movies and knowing what challenges lay ahead for your favorite characters. We watch knowing what is about to happen and have no power to stop it. The thing that stands out to me when I read this is how resolute Jesus is during this trying time. He stands firm in the face of death while being paraded from group to group in Jerusalem. His strength comes from God during this time. We can learn a lot from Jesus. We learn that challenges will come our way. We are not immune to them just like Jesus wasn’t immune to them. However, we are able to stand firm when we lean on the Lord and seek Him for help.
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